The Congo’s presidential election results have been delayed, adding fuel to growing suspicions that the results may be manipulated.
The announcement, which was made on January 6th, did not provide a date for when the winner would be revealed. So far, some 53% if the December 30th votes have been tallied and electoral officials will not release any information until all ballots have been counted, said Corneille Nangaa, head of the electoral commission.
"We handle sensitive data and have to handle it responsibly," said Nangaa. "We are aware this process has always been surrounded by distrust," he added, referring to calls from the Catholic Church, the African Union, the United States and other diplomats for the government to announce accurate results. He also called on the Congo's people to "remain patient."
The Congo’s president, Joseph Kabila, is stepping down after being in power for 18 years. The latest presidential election had been delayed for two years before finally going ahead in 2018. There are many Congolese who view the delayed announcement of a victor as simply another effort by Kabila's party to manipulate the results in order to claim victory.
According to AP, election observers and opposition party officials have raised concerns about voting irregularities, which include a decision by the government to block some One milllion voters in the eastern regions from voting – owing to Ebola fears.